Defend the Tri grabbed more than it's share of headlines recently, but the group has now officially shut down, at least the Facebook page, over the weekend, ending a busy two week lifespan. The founder, Dylan Tafoya, released a lengthy statement, we have a link to it below.

Defend The Tri was an effort assembled to help prevent vandalism and damage to businesses, in the wake of the recent rioting and burning of buildings in Seattle, Bellevue, Tukwila and other cities. The group was created June 1st. by Dylan Tafoya.

The night before, May 31st, Kennewick Police had closed off access to Columbia Center Mall after receiving notice of a social media post inviting people to join the poster at 8PM for a "riot" at the Mall.  Police were able to contact the man who did the post, and although police said he agreed to rescind it, they still kept watch.

Around 10PM that evening, a "large" group of persons (that's the word used by KPD) approached the area of Burlington Coat Factory on Canal. Some reports indicate they initially headed towards the Mall but veered away when they saw all the police presence. Some people splintered off this large group which Police were trying to 'herd' away from the area. These people were the ones who committed the window smashing and vandalism. One man ended up being arrested.

The next day Defend The Tri was created. Perhaps inspired by the citizens of the small town of Snohomish, area Tri-Citians joined the group with the intent of watching over area businesses in the night time hours. May 30th in Snohomish, according to reports, a would-be group of agitators-anarchists (some say Antifa) were turned away without incident by the presence of hundreds of armed citizens patrolling the town.

Similar efforts were seen that weekend in Coeur D' Alene Idaho. Some members of Defend were armed, some not. It was a varied mix of individuals. According to posts on the page, they would only 'watch' a business if the owner officially requested they do so. They would notify police if they saw any suspicious activity or incidents.

However, as the days progressed, the already sensitive situation surrounding protests, marches, vandalism and riots in the Pacific Northwest (and elsewhere) led to a lot of controversy, some of it brought about by persons or groups not a part of Defend, some of it internal. There were meetings with other groups in our area, a lot of discussions and statements and news stories towards the end.

At it's highest point, there were about 6,700 members who had joined Defend The Tri.

What turned out to be a 'final' statement about the group was posted by Tafoya on June 13th, the group was "archived" June 14th.   There is evidence there were small, independent groups of people who were standing guard at businesses even before Defend was created, it is believed these individuals are still doing that now.

To read the final statement in it's entirety, click on the button below.

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